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Sheriff’s Dispatcher Killed in Riverside County Car Accident

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Dominic Durden, 30, a Riverside County Sheriff’s Dispatcher, was killed in a Moreno Valley car accident after his motorcycle was struck by a pickup truck making a left turn. According to The Press-Enterprise, the motorcycle accident occurred the morning of July 12, 2012 at the intersection of Pigeon Pass Road and Chambray Drive. Police say Juan Tzun Lopez, 24, was driving a 1989 Toyota pickup north on Pigeon Pass Road when he attempted to make a left turn onto Chambray. He struck Durden’s motorcycle, which was southbound on Pigeon Pass. Durden, who was wearing a helmet, was thrown off his motorcycle and died at the scene. Lopez was arrested on suspicion of vehicular manslaughter and driving without a license.

I offer my deepest condolences to the family members and friends of Dominic Durden for their tragic loss. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.

Motorcycle Accident Statistics

According to California Highway Patrol’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), there were no fatalities, but 31 injuries involving motorcycle accidents in Moreno Valley in 2009. During the same year, 31 people died and 500 were injured due to motorcycle accidents in Riverside County.

Left Turn Law

Based on this news account, the driver of the Toyota pickup truck failed to yield the right of way to the motorcyclist and made an unsafe left turn. California Vehicle Code Section 21801 (a) states: “The driver of a vehicle intending to turn to the left or to complete a U-turn upon a highway, or to turn left into public or private property, or an alley, shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles approaching from the opposite direction which are close enough to constitute a hazard at any time during the turning movement, and shall continue to yield the right-of-way to the approaching vehicles until the left turn or U-turn can be made with reasonable safety.”

Fault and Liability

If the driver is determined to have been at fault, he could be held liable for Durden’s wrongful death. In cases where negligence is involved, the family of a deceased victim can file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, lost future income and other related damages. An experienced Riverside personal injury attorney will be able to advise victims’ families about how their own auto insurance policy might apply to an incident where the at-fault motorist is uninsured or underinsured.

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